Monday, September 5, 2016

Open Letter to Hasbro

Dear Hasbro Executives,

Over the past few years, you've been hit pretty hard over issues of representation in your toy lines. While some of this was a tad exaggerated (I thought you did a decent job on Episode VII), a lot of the criticism was fair. Making Slave Leia the first woman in the Star Wars Black line then waiting years to produce a second is a good example of a serious misstep.

But that's been covered elsewhere - most of your shortcomings have. That's not what this is about.

I'm writing this to draw attention to the fact that, over the past couple of years, you've dramatically improved your assortment of minority and female characters, particularly in your Marvel Legends line, and I don't think we've given you the credit you deserve.

For a few years now, almost every wave I've seen has included at least two female characters (out of six or seven total, for anyone not familiar with these things). There were a few exceptions, but this seems to have become the new default for the line. That's about double what we were getting a few years ago.

The X-Men wave that just hit store shelves contained three women - Rogue, Phoenix, and Kitty Pryde. All of them are awesome.

The fire stand was made by a different company - I just liked the way this photo came out.

More than that, we're seeing some diversity. I just picked up Miles Morales, Silk, and the Ashley Barton Spider-Girl. Half that wave was devoted to characters of color, two of whom were women. As a collector who wants a more diverse collection, these are of course more interesting. Far more importantly, I can only imagine how wonderful it must be for non-white kids to finally find themselves represented in the superhero section.

I wanted to write this because I haven't seen a lot of acknowledgement towards the outstanding work you're doing, and I feel like that's just as important as criticizing what you do poorly. So, thank you. This is fantastic.

Of course, there's more that needs to be done. I'd encourage you to revisit the bodies you're using for female characters - they're much more sexualized than the men (maybe back off the sculpted buttocks and arched backs). And there's still the imbalance over in Star Wars (I'm still waiting for that promised 6-inch New Hope Leia, and I'd love to see an Episode VII General Organa and Maz Kanata, while you're at it).

To be fair, I'm not helping with the pose.

But, setting that aside, I wanted you to know your work's appreciated by a lot of geeks out here. We've been asking for a better assortment of figures for years, and you've clearly been listening. This is a huge step forward.

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